Eurodac is an information system that was introduced to compare digital fingerprints of asylum seekers and illegal immigrants to facilitate the application of the “Dublin II” Regulation. This will help designate the Member State that has to assess the asylum application.

What is Eurodac?

The Eurodac system consists of: a central unit managed by the European Data Protection Authority, a central computerised database of digital fingerprints, electronic means for data transfers between Member States and the central database. Only national authorities responsible for asylum applications have access to the central database.

These are the three categories of persons for whom Eurodac gathers information: asylum seekers older than 14 years, aliens apprehended in connection with the irregular crossing of an external border and aliens illegally on the territory of a Member State.

The following data are registered: the Member State of origin, the digital fingerprint, the sex and the reference number used by the Member State of origin. When there is an alert  the data are transferred through the DubliNet system. DubliNet is a secure electronic communication network between the national authorities dealing with asylum applications. The two involved Member States can exchange personal data through DubliNet that differ from Eurodac data, like name, date of birth, nationality, photo, details on family members and in some cases addresses.

Is there any supervision of the personal data processed by the Eurodac system?

The European Data Protection Supervisor monitors the processing of personal data in the database (central unit) and the transfer of personal data to Member States. The data protection authorities of the Member States (the Authority in Belgium) oversee the processing operations carried out by their national authorities as well as transfers of personal data to the central unit. 

A supervision coordination group was established, which consists of the European Data Protection Supervisor and the national data protection authorities, to ensure that the system is approached uniformly. This supervision group holds meetings at regular intervals and examines common problems that arise when the Eurodac system is in operation. It also proposes joint solutions.